Archived entries for hinterland + countryside

and in the endless pause…

…there came the sound of bees

Original book Varmints by Helen Ward

Music by Jóhann Jóhannsson : album in like like like playlist here -


Book illustration and film direction by Marc Craste

hamilton echo

This is Hamilton Mausoleum, just south of Glasgow – It’s not quite “one of the grandest temples to the dead outside Egypt” – but what a noise (just the echo, not the canned soundeffect directly afterwards, well, obviously).

I kinda know the area casually, having worked at Motherwell district council in the early 90s, when Ravenscraig was being decommissioned – but have never been inside the Duke’s folly, across the main west-coast motorway, the M74, which divides the two towns.

There’s actually lots of good stuff to explore in the area despite its grim appearance – start here

And then of course you’re not too far away from this – um – place, either… East Kilbride

Thanks to daisysaint’s youtube channel for the video.

torphichen : culross : jerusalem

Torphichen Preceptory is not much to look at now, post-reformation, when pre-baroque catholic aesthetics were eschewed for righteous minimalist puritanism in 1554 – but it still carries a remarkable background signal. Visited on 2 Jan 2011 for Centrifuge photoshoot, it did feel completely back of beyond however. Looking at it in googlemaps though shows a less isolated position – Linlithgow, Falkirk and Queensferry/Dunfermline/Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth and thence Europe are not too far away at all.

Only two places in Rome’s Britain were allocated Knights Hospitaller status – Clerkenwell in London, the Clerkenwell of Zaha Hadid, Defoe, Dickens and Lenin fame : and here in B-road Torphichen. It is a significant and complex story stretching back to the earliest indications of Christianity in Scotland, over 1500 years ago. Anyways, it’s now utterly devoid of power, partnered instead with grotesquely banal 60s housing scheme aesthetic, like Culross – how the freak did they get away with it? The insensitivity and ignorance is deafening.

But as the 2001 WTC 10-year anniverary comes closer, it’s worth looking at what this conflict between the worlds’ three great western religions – Jew, Muslim and Christian – really means. This war has been going on far too long. Torphichen may be a footnote now but it connects deep. Jerusalem is why it’s here. And like all tall places, it must – and did – fall. This state always occurs through ideological dispute betwen two interconnected religions.

Who do you think is pulling Afghanistan apart? It’s not the British nor the US nor the NGO’s.

A short drive from Torphichen, across the Kincardine Bridge and the River Forth estuary, pall-shadowed by the belching behemoths of Grangemouth oil refinery and coal-fired Longannet power station, the once-rich villatown of Culross – Scotland’s Portmeirion – is less about ideology and more about entrepreneur, although the remarkable Culross Abbey dates to the 5th century and is homeland of Kentigern (St Mungo), son of Thenew, who begat the city of Glasgow, a hotbed of conflicting religious vices, oh yes. Europe is a short-ish boat trip away and that means trade, pure and simple – what a relief.

Below is a clip of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, centred on Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the root, Damascus the branch (other branches continue to bicker too, in rather more prosaic places like Coatbridge and Bathgate). Watch out for dangerous times in Torphichen’s source – well, actually, it was ever so…

images above : culross : 2 jan 2011

May Miles Thomas interview

Catch the extended version here (scroll to the bottom for the audio player) of the interview with multi-BAFTA award-winner May Miles Thomas, author and filmmaker of Glasgow’s The Devils Plantation, interviewed by BBC Scotland’s Shereen Nanjiani on 12 December 2010.

It covers both the genesis and making of the work and also some personal memories from May about growing up in Glasgow – including opening up a private bank account at the age of 5!

Essential listening for anyone with an interest in Glasgow, filmmaking and how the creative process is touched by personal experience. And don’t be fooled by May’s pleasant, lighthearted banter with Shereen – she is one sweetly-toughminded cookie… and one exceptional filmmaker.

Image from BBC Scotland : Shereen (L) with guest May Miles Thomas

the devils plantation

Not many psychogeography projects win baftas (interactive category, 2010).

If you have not already done so, may I just remind everyone again with an interest in Glasgow and/or psychogeography to go straight here – allow plenty time to explore this original work from visionary filmmaker May Miles Thomas, a filmmaker on a par I believe with Patrick Keiller.

It’s a brilliantly remarkable achievement – there are very few things I say that about. I’m glad I’m still alive to have seen this answer and resolution to Harry Bell’s thoughts on glasgow’s topographical mysteries. Original review is here. The whole construct is leavened by a very dry sense of humour, of course; MMT being a bit gallus… ballsy… awesome…

Flash development and online projector by the hugely talented producer Owen Thomas

help with navigation
I’ve added some crude screenshots below to help with starting off – the navigation is purposely enigmatic at first, but not difficult once the method is worked out. Part of the enjoyment is discovering the twin narratives in a non-linear way, so sorry in advance to those who are happy with puzzles – don’t look below!

A final point – the west of scotland landscape the story and films play over is vast and hypnotic – 2-3 hrs will pass before you realise the time. You can save your place though, at any location. Once you have visited all 66 locations, things… um… change – it’s worth the journey!

from Z to A is a scotland-based psychogeography and urban topography magazine featuring creative, critical, playful urban journeys

© Edward Alexander : from Z to A 1991-2013 | All Rights reserved | Please credit if you use content | All other content © the owners and credited as such

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